Improved healing rates for simple venous leg ulcers in the community setting
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Background: The need for improvements in leg ulcer management has finally been recognised, following Guest et al (2015) Burden of wounds study and the launch of the new best practice statement from Wounds UK. The study highlighted unsafe practice taking place within primary care and the need for a change in the training and education of leg ulcer management across the National Health Service (NHS). Aims: Prior to making any improvements within the Trust, data showed the average healing rate across the Trust to be a disappointing 41%, further reflecting the data found in Guest et al study. The goal set within the Trust for healing simple venous leg ulcers is a 75% healing rate within 20 weeks. In order to improve practice, patient outcomes and achieve the goal set within the Trust, the Tissue Viability team implemented 6 key steps within the Trust. The 6 key steps comprise of an online interactive leg ulcer theory training package, Video’s demonstrating how to perform compression bandaging and an ABPI Doppler assessment, Updated Leg ulcer handbook, Algorithm, Updated assessment and care plan templates and Leg Ulcer clinic co-ordinator meetings have been commenced. Method: The data collected for the healing rates within the Trust will validate whether the changes implemented have been successful in overall improving practice and patient outcomes. Results: The latest data shows 90 -100% healing rate since the training has been embedded into practice alongside a quality improvement plan. Conclusions: The training is already demonstrating improvements in clinical practice, patient outcomes and a better use of resources. This will result in cost savings for the NHS and free up healthcare professionals valuable time.